The descending sleek glass spiral staircase and elevator at the southeast corner of the intersection of West Georgia Street and Seymour Street is unmistakably a striking feature for the base of the TELUS Garden office tower.
But where does it lead to?
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The significance of this semi-hidden below-grade space should not be underestimated; it is anything but typical, as it does not lead to the office tower’s underground parkade, but rather it is an entrance into a bright, open labyrinth for Henriquez Partners Architects, one of the leading architectural firms in the city.
The firm’s headquarters occupy a 14,000-sq-ft underground space directly below the West Georgia Street public plaza of the office tower. Natural light pours into the space, streaming in from the glass paving on the plaza floor and transitioning through two large sculptural light scoops, with their funnel shapes inspired by Le Corbusier’s Church in Firminy, France.
Supplemental lighting is provided by suspended pendant lights within this unique interior space.
Approximately 80 people work in the studio, configured as a large, collaborative space with three long work tables that form six rows of continuous workstations.
TELUS Garden, both the office tower on West Georgia Street and the residential tower on Robson Street, was designed by the firm and developed by Westbank.
While the office tower was being constructed earlier in the decade, the underground space was originally slated to be a theatre and then a sports bar, but those plans never materialized and the space became available to the firm for lease.
Just last week, the studio celebrated its 50th anniversary, honouring its founder, Richard Henriquez.
The firm is behind the designs of a number of prominent Vancouver buildings, such as the BC Cancer Research Centre, UBC Michael Smith Laboratory, Coal Harbour Community Centre, and the Woodward’s redevelopment.
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